Biography of John Spencer Kenyon

John Spencer Kenyon is a member of the furniture firm of Hardcastle & Kenyon at Emporia. Established nearly thirty-five years ago, this is one of the oldest furniture houses in Kansas, and so far as known only one firm had been in business for a longer time and that is the Thompson Brothers at Topeka.

Mr. Kenyon’s had been a most creditable business record. His name had been familiar to the people of Emporia and that section of Kansas for more than a generation, and always suggests the best qualities of commercial enterprise. His public spirit had also been a factor in the city’s improvement and growth.

He was born in Central New York, Madison County, August 2, 1842, a son of John and Samantha (Corbin) Kenyon. His parents were also born in Madison County, both in the year 1806, and the mother died there in 1859 and the father in 1882. John Kenyon was a farmer, and after the organization of that party followed the principles of the republicans. John S. Kenyon is the only survivor of a family of six children, among whom he was the third in order of birth. His brother Albert was a teacher and died in Madison, and the second son, Enos, was a dry goods salesman and died in Madison County. The younger brother, William, died in boyhood, and the only sisters, Mary Ann and Francelia, both died in childhood.

Educated in the public schools of Madison County and at the seminary at Cazenovia, New York, John S. Kenyon spent the greater part of the first forty years of his life as a teacher. He taught in New York State three years and for seventeen years was closely identified with educational interests in Macoupin County, Illinois. For four years of that time he served as county superintendent of schools.

In 1882 he came to Emporia and about that time the firm of Hardcastle & Kenyon was established, and that name had been continued ever since and it is the oldest and most reliable furniture house in that part of the state. The large store is situated at 520-522 Commercial Street, and the stock and show rooms require two floors, each 50 by 130 feet, and its trade extends over a country surrounding Emporia for a distance of forty miles.

A number of years ago Mr. Kenyon assisted in establishing the Citizens National Bank of Emporia and is still a director. He belongs to the Emporia Commercial Club, is an independent republican in politics, and is regarded as one of Emporia’s most prosperous citizens. Besides his business in the city he owned a fine home at 226 West Twelfth Street, eight other houses which are occupied by tenants, and two farms comprising 400 acres in Lyon County.

In Missouri in 1874 Mr. Kenyon married Miss Mary Virginia Hardcastle. She died at Emporia December 29, 1915, leaving no children. Her father was Edward Hardcastle, an Illinois farmer.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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